Saturday Stats: Budget in a bind, Art Modell on Zach’s mind
Posted February 09, 2019 in eNews
$6 billion: Because they’ve been slashing taxes since 2005, Ohio lawmakers have about $6 billion a year less to work with. That is one of the big reasons our state budget is in a bind, according to Wendy Patton. Even though more Ohioans lived in poverty in 2017 than before the Great Recession of 2008, we spend less money on programs that broaden economic opportunity and help struggling Ohioans get the basics. For example:
- $610 million: Funding for Ohio’s public school districts fell by 6.7 percent, or $610 million, since 2010.
- $505 million: Funding for the Department of Higher Education fell by 16.8 percent, or $505 million, since 2006.
- $270 million: Funding for other human services like protective services for children and the elderly, and work supports like child care assistance, has declined by $270 million since 2006, a drop of 12.9 percent.
- $1.4 billion: Between 2006 and 2018, counties, cities, townships and villages lost $1.4 billion a year because state lawmakers cut the Local Government Fund and eliminated some local taxes.
2: Apparently, there are at least two Ben Steins out there. One works for us, and one starred in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and worked for President Nixon. Conservative news site American Thinker doesn’t know that though, and skewered Nixon’s former speechwriter for going over to the dark side and calling for (gasp) automatic voter registration.
$11.2 million: The state spent $11.2 million to build two Ohio Turnpike exits for the General Motors Lordstown plant. That’s just one of the taxpayer funded incentives GM received, only for the company to announce plans to idle the plant this March. That move reminded Zach Schiller of Art Modell, the notorious owner of the Cleveland Browns, who moved the team to Baltimore in 1995. After Modell cut and run, the state passed a law that calls for sports team owners who use a tax-supported facility and receive financial assistance from the state or locality to either get agreement from their home town to move elsewhere, or give six months’ notice of their intention to move and allow locals a chance to buy the team. Zach wonders why the same protections can’t be extended to employees and the surrounding communities of other major businesses, like GM. He made his case in the Plain Dealer, on WEWS Channel 5 in Cleveland and ABC News 6 in Columbus.
$7.7 million: That’s how much Cincinnati Public Schools spent on food for their students in 2017. Thanks to help from Hannah Halbert and the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, the school board passed a Good Food Purchasing Policy. Now the school board will purchase food from vendors that support good jobs in the community, prioritize practices that protect workers, promote sustainable practices, and sell healthy, fresh food.
$14: That’s now the minimum wage for employees of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Although the food bank works to alleviate poverty, its leaders realized too many of the people who work there struggled to make ends meet. Michael Shields found that raising wages helped the food bank retain employees and improve productivity without breaking the bank. Other nonprofits should take note.
2: We have two great interns, Katie Burns and McNair Shaw. Katie is a senior at John Carroll University where she’s a double major in peace, justice, and human rights, and accounting. We're thrilled to have a social-justice-loving number cruncher on the team! McNair is a junior at The Ohio State University where he’s studying political science and economics. He wants to attend law school after graduation.
47,610: From January 2008 to January 2018, there were 47,610 recorded land contracts in Ohio, according to Victoria Jackson. Under these contracts, the seller agrees to transfer the title to the buyer only after the house has been paid in full. They often include exorbitant fees, buyer-required repairs and balloon payments. People who have been locked out of traditional home ownership due to racial discrimination or other barriers often see land contracts as their only path toward owning their own home. On February 13 at 12 p.m., the Ohio Fair Lending Coalition is hosting a panel and brown bag lunch on land contracts at Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, 1717 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115 in the Sweet Room on the second floor. Victoria will be a featured panelist.